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Make Yourself Attractive, And I Don't Mean Pretty!

This will the be the first of many posts that will lead into an Ebook that I'm working on and an online academy that will be rolled out later this year. We will start with one of the most common questions I get about being a company officer, however, it can be used for promoting up from company officer to chief officer as well.

"How do I make myself a strong candidate for promotion?"

Well, there is not any singular answer to this and each situation is unique in many cases. But, if you can do some very basic things and keep yourself grounded and driven, you can make yourself difficult to pass over for promotion. In some cases, however, there are some factors that we cannot overcome and have no control over.

--Political challenges
--Elected positions
--Lack of a true process (seniority based promotions)
--Time requirements for promotion (not a problem normally unless the number of years is slanted to promote more senior members)
--Constantly changing processes

I'm sure there are other examples that you may have encountered, but the list above is fairly common and some problems I have personally witnessed and that others have expressed.

The first step is to do your best to not let the outside factors affect your drive. Things that you can't control have to be pushed to the back of your efforts and energy. If you focus on things you can't control, you will not be putting enough energy into the things that you can and should be controlling. Additionally, the more you complain openly and show frustration in the "system" the more you create a perception of discontent and of being negative. Whether you like it or not, perception is important.

Now, on to things that you need to be doing to make yourself an attractive candidate for promotion. These sound simple and for the most part, they are. The problem is that most do not stick with it. They do not sustain their efforts for not only days and months, but it may take years to build your full body of work, and that is what it will take.

You must be consistent and persistent. All of the steps that we list will be for nothing if you can't sustain your efforts. Inconsistency is a killer and it makes you a fair weather candidate. Your efforts have to be passionately pursued and that means doing the same things over and over again; day after day; month after month. It takes endurance!

So, what are the things you NEED to be doing? Here is your list:

--Master the fundamentals; always know the little things
--Bring your A game every shift
--When at the firehosue, be AT the firehouse
--Make your first job first
--Be inquisitive, not critical; question things respectfully and with a temper to learn, not criticise
--Learn from the good AND bad officers; write down significant issues related to both
--Ask for input from other officers; be receptive to constructive criticism
-- Become the informal leader by setting the example daily; not by tearing others down
--Ask for tasks and take on projects; but, make sure you get them done........RIGHT!
--Set attainable but challenging goals, write them down, and get to work!
--Know your priorities---citizens, crew and you last
--Take advantage of your down time in a productive manner
--Learn how to report and document; it is important
--Take classes and training that will prepare you for the next position


Finally..........

--Be able to have your career, to this point, speak for itself; it should be no secret who you are and what you stand for when the promotional process starts

And.....most importantly............be great at the job you are doing now! Whatever you are assigned to now, be the best at it. It's great to prepare for the next step, but, you should master and be great at each step or rank you achieve. There has to be an appropriate balance between working for the next promotion and being great at your current job.


This is the beginning of a new program that will be made available this year. We will also cover the material in this post, and others, in future podcasts and webinars. The podcasts and webinars will allow me to offer more insight and specifics for each topic. Keep your eyes open for some program offerings and mentoring opportunities in the coming months. We have an exciting 2014 in store!


Thanks and if you ever have specific questions feel free to contact me at thenewfireofficer@gmail.com

Take care,
Jason!

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Comment by Rick Michelson on January 19, 2014 at 7:44pm

Great post, Jason. We help candidates get ready for the Assessment Center portions with some structured interviews, of their promotional exam. Since we've been doing this successfully for over 20 years we do have a lot of success stories. Everything you're saying is right on the money. Just a reminder to readers too; that it's your skill set as a leader (supervisor/manager) that you're being tested on, not necessarily your technical skills. What we find a lot of people doing is studying, studying, studying the books and manuals, but when they get into a "hot seat" in a "live" assessment center, it's a whole different ball game. We encourage candidates to use every day as "free practice" by using daily calls, briefings, meetings, projects, etc., and tactical situations as a way to hone those specific skills. As one of my assessment center guru's says, "Practice may not make you perfect, but it will make you better!!" Rick Michelson Assessmentcenter.org 

Comment by Jason Hoevelmann on January 17, 2014 at 12:48pm

Becki, thank you and I appreciate you reading.

Comment by Becki White on January 14, 2014 at 2:09pm

Nice article Jason!  When my firefighters ask me about the promotion process, my answer is always, "Be the best at the job you're doing and you'll be seen as the natural choice."  


Looking forward to the all the great stuff you have in the works.

 

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